1) Prep: removed ribbons and pearls, and did a quick wash of both dresses and bolero with homemade detergent (just borax, washing soda, fels naptha soap, sweet orange essential oil)
2) Made 6 quarts of tea using a $2 box of orange pekoe from the grocery store. Brewed for about 12 minutes.
3) Removed teabags and added the tea to a 5 gallon bucket. The wet dresses went in with additional hot water, enough to submerge them.
4) I stirred well and let it sit for about half an hour.
5) Drained the tea and rinsed with cold water and 1/3c of white vinegar.
6) Back in the washer for a rinse and spin cycle.
7) Hung out to dry, then machine dried and steamed after they were ~80% dry on the rack, and painstakingly pressed.
8) . . .
I wish I had a picture of the white on my dressform so it'd be in the same lighting conditions but this older one will have to do for comparison:
Baby JSK comparison
Overall I'm very pleased with how they turned out. The Bodyline dress is now the offwhite color I had wanted it to be when I bought it. Everything but the ribbons took the stain and I like the contrast it offers with the pearls. It's not as apparent in person but each type of lace is slightly different and you can see on the bolero sleeves that it absorbed more color than the other types.
The JSK's transformation is very subtle but I love how it turned out. It had been cotton candy pink but I prefer a more mature aesthetic so this will go into a classic coord with a cute cardigan that I can wear to work more easily. In the last detail picture you can see that the thread, which I'm guessing is poly or poly blend, didn't absorb as much color. It probably wouldn't do well to change a color too much in case the thread resists dyeing. I 'll be changing the lacing ribbons to cream colored too.
* Satin ribbons don't stain
* Tea dyeing is a fun, inexpensive way to spend an afternoon
* Protip: Don't use your hands to agitate garments in hot tea !!